How to sort fact from fiction: News version

If you bookmark little else this week make it this piece from Communications & Media professor Melissa Zimdars.  The article contains tips to indentify FAKE news and websites, and the advice is excellent.

I’d be so presumptuous to add the following:

1.  VERIFY.  Since the corporate media doesn’t seem to believe they are obligated to fact check, and several anchors have opined that it’s not their job to do so, don’t believe everything you read, and especially if it comes from (a) a source you don’t recognize or (b) from an e-mail chain.

“The “big three” non-partisan political fact-checkers—Politifact, Factcheck.org, and the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker—came of age in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections..” [DailyDot]

2. DIG A BIT DEEPER.  If the story sounds preposterous it probably is but SNOPES does a good job on these kinds of issues.

3. GO TO THE SOURCE.  If you can’t find the source, that’s a red flag. But there are good sources of information, independent of political media.  For example, there’s FRED, a database available to the public from the Federal Reserve.  There’s also the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Be skeptical, be cautious, but try to avoid being cynical.  Not all sources are essentially biased.

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